Choppy and grotty on the South Side

Despite the forecast there was a bit of a nasty windy chop meaning it was stirred up close in on the South Side of Beadnell Point.....

The vis was , hmmmmn, probably about 5m when you got out to 8m depth but in the shallows it was nasty

Temperature, well it is getting cold it was 'nippy' in the two piece thermals, but it is September.....

I was diving around high water which I don't recommend on this site as you are limited to entry and exit at one point, try to get in elsewhere and you are staggering ankle then knee deep in deeply pitted rock which will break your ankle and/or shin if you slip and fall, having got in my immediate reaction was uuuurgh, but having an hours wait to be picked up I headed out and it did clear up when you got past the first kelp beds and into the rough ground.

It's been a few weeks since I was in on the South Side and it wasn't long before I started coming across lost fishing line criss-crossing the site, now normal mono isn't a problem as it snaps easily if you wrap it round a stone but lots of people use braid and for that reason divers who go in from the shore must have both a knife and scissors, if you try and cut this by hand you will get deep, deep cuts!

Working through and over the kelp I picked up the occasional, recently lost fishing weight and very soon picked up a cavalcade of saithe which were following me around waiting to pick up any morsels which were dislodged from the kelp, the only time I saw any predator action was when I disturbed a small scorpionfish which was sitting on the top of a bit of kelp, it was quite funny to see the first saithe grab this small fish, swim a yard or so and spit out the spiny mouthful....a second saithe grabbed the fish and so it continued three or four times until the scorpionfish was either dead or too stunned to flare up its fins and down it went into a saithes belly!

Before the dive I didn't see any buoys indicating that there were lobster pots on the site but sure enough there was a string running parallel to the reef in about 6m of water. Now some of the fishermen are using nice dull green buoys which are cheap but nigh on impossible to see so maybe it was Priestly with his cheap buoys, anyhow the three pots that I saw were packed full of smaller fiends, mostly undersize but certainly there would be three or four takable lobsters per pot, so not bad business!

It is an odd site regards fiends here as most of them live under the boulder crust and it is 'rare' that you see any huge amounts, sure there are maybe half a dozen holes which are regularly hold good size fiends but not as many as you would think, as for the 'reeflets', well despite the cracks and splits there are not usually lots, although there are always crabs, megrim (google it!!) and leopard goby.

Where we are in the season means that there is lots of dead and dying weed on the bottom in dips and hollows so perhaps it was no surprise that the wreck of mistley was full of smashed up dulse, I did have some fun chasing a fiend round and round part of the wreckage, by the time I got bored the lobster was getting quite angry and starting to raise its claws and jump up!

Working along the outsdie edge of the wreckage there was a big wrasse which was obviously very interested in a lobster which had 'lost' both of its claws, probably another bloody amateur extraction which failed miserably, however I guess that the wrasse will eventually get the lobster when it leaves its temporary home under a bit of plate. The proble that 'de-clawed' fiends have is that it takes three or more moults before the replacement nippers get to a size where they can defend a hole.

I was a bit chilled after half an hour and decided to head back slowly along the main slope where the string of pots had strayed and yup the pots here were also full of fiends and there was one pot with a couple of reasonable size edible crabs inside, now I am always puzzled why we rarely get any number of edible crabs inshore here but there are large crabs close inshore at Babbacombe and down south, I am sure that there is a reason I just can't think what it is.

There was a bit of small stuff on the dulse, lost of sea lemon nudibranch but strangely I didn't spot any sea hares, maybe these larger nudibranch have spawned and died back. The small white and yellow nudibranch (crispea?) which live on the algae which grows on weed were also not as prevalent as usual, again its probably just got to a stage where this years adults are tired and dying out......

Back near the exit point I had a look at some spots which are usually inhabited with fiends but no luck.....always next time!

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 2.7 kg

Weight this year - 365.9 kg 

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